Hear Us is pleased to announce we have won funding from Trust For London for three years, to run a Campaigning Project, and we will be employing a new member of staff as a Campaigns Coordinator.
We wish to build a movement run and led by people with lived experience of mental ill health representing all communities initially in Croydon. This movement will educate, inform and influence for change to improve the lives of some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our communities through awareness raising, and campaigning for change in our public services and in the wider community.
Services are often done to us with limited opportunity to influence what and how it is received, which reduces the chances of recovery and a fulfilling life. Using those experiences to change the way services are delivered can make a real difference to people’s lives. For example, our Linkworkers have co-produced changes to Mental Health services in Croydon that reduce physical restraint on the wards with all the inherent dangers that can arise.
We want to see a world where the services we receive are co-produced by us as Deaf and Disabled members of our community in Croydon and beyond.
With our current capacity and our limited reach, we need greater resources to change policies, practices and attitudes within public services, including but not only Mental Health Services.
We need to build a movement of people with lived experience of disability and services using the social model of disability. Co-production must be key, but this can only be done if we expand our membership, upskill our members and work with other like-minded partners to change our experiences of public services, including the police, Mental Health services, the NHS in general, the court system, immigration and asylum and the welfare system, radically changing the attitudes and cultures of all public services.
We don’t expect to change the world immediately but, by working with our members and partners, we can start the process towards reducing poverty, recurring ill health and poor life chances for those with disabilities.
We have data which shows how our members and service users are discriminated against by our public services. We want to weaponise that data to campaign for change in the way services are planned, funded, developed and delivered. Through fundamental cultural and attitudinal change in our public services, we would enable people with disabilities to maximise their potential and play a more meaningful and active role in society whether through employment, volunteering, greater social inclusion or by playing more active roles in political or public life.
This work has already started through co-production and involvement in service design and implementation but there is still much to do to radically change the way services are designed and delivered. Through having a more skilled and vocal membership, working with partners and service providers, we can in time change the way services are delivered.
We would start by:
“ Expanding our membership to actively include those who are most hard to reach and most isolated in our community.
“ Developing training for members to increase their soft skills and confidence. With support from others, we can develop a persuasive and transformative movement for change.
“ Identifying the themes that our services report are common to most of our service users and work to address those with service providers.
“ Developing partnerships with like-minded organisations and individuals across South London, strengthening the third sector and its influence on public services.
“ Enabling people to have greater control over their own lives where they feel they have the capacity.
This approach should enable us to start the process of increasing involvement of the most vulnerable and isolated in the disabled community, practically making positive differences to people’s lives and build a movement across London to address common concerns across all those who are marginalised in our society.
We would start by setting up a communications and campaigns steering group to ensure that the work that we want to undertake effectively meets the aims of this proposal.
We would employ a Campaigns Manager to manage the work of this initiative and develop relationships with other groups, individuals and our members. The Campaigns Manager would be responsible for facilitating upskilling of our members so they can use their skills, experience and expertise to make change happen.
Hear Us is a well-respected user-led and ran Mental Health charity with a long history of providing advice to some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups in Croydon over at least the last 15 years. We have developed strong relationships with Mind in Croydon, Croydon BME Forum and others in the voluntary sector and service providers such as South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. Building on our long history of involvement in the Mental Health community in Croydon, we are well placed to use what we have learnt in service provision to address underlying issues which persistently affect our members and others when using public services.
Tim Oldham CEO Orchard House 15a Purley Road South Croydon Surrey CR2 6EZ Tel: 020 8681 6888 Mobile: 07594 373 104 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org